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Therabody's SmartGoggles Can Make You Feel Sleepy, Lower Your Heart Rate

The new sleep device might be a good addition to your bedtime routine.

A pair of Therabody SmartGoggles
SmartGoggles look like a VR headset.
Therabody

Therabody is a well-known brand in health and fitness and the originator of the top-rated Theragun, a handheld deep-tissue massage gun that relieves muscle tension and soreness. The brand has expanded its product catalog and is venturing into the sleep realm, beginning with the release of the Therabody SmartGoggles on Sept. 20, 2022. 

Let's just say, they aren't your average sleep mask.

Designed to promote calmness, relaxation and focus, the SmartGoggles can be used day or night to unwind, lower your heart rate, help you fall sleep and even ease headaches. As a Sleep Science Coach, I'm particularly excited about what the SmartGoggles can do for those who struggle to fall asleep at night. At the same time, they're a multi-functional wellness product with a lot to offer if you're looking to relax and recharge.

Here's a look at my experience with the SmartGoggles and whether they're worth the money.

Therabody SmartGoggles

You're receiving price alerts for Therabody SmartGoggles

Like

  • The massager and heater work together to make you feel calm and relaxed
  • Theramind lets you listen to guided sleep or meditation tracks as you use the SmartGoggles
  • Lowers your heart rate and eases eye strain
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Helps relieve headaches

Don't Like

  • They're on the pricey side
  • The battery isn't as long-lasting after using Sleep mode

Therabody SmartGoggles features

  • SmartSense Technology powered by a biometric sensor
  • Three pre-set modes: Focus, SmartRelax and Sleep
  • Three modalities: vibration, massage and heat
  • Up to 150-minute battery life (depending on the mode you use) 
  • Bluetooth-enabled to pair with Therabody's Theramind app
  • Adjustable head strap

Price

The SmartGoggles retail for $199. They're pricey, but I see them being worth it for people who struggle with anxiety or insomnia. The company offers free shipping and a 60-day trial, so you can try them before you fully commit. Right now they're sold out, but they should be back in stock soon (according to Therabody's website). 

Using SmartGoggles for sleep

The SmartGoggles from Therabody

SmartGoggles from Therabody cost $199. 

McKenzie Dillon/ CNET

My first impression of the SmartGoggles was that they looked like a sleek virtual reality headset. There are several different ways to use them, but I found myself drawn to Sleep mode. They're too bulky to use during sleep itself, but that's not their purpose. Instead, the SmartGoggles are an addition to your nightly bedtime routine to relieve eye tension and provoke a sense of calmness. They have a built-in massager and heating mask.

"SmartGoggles promote optimal sleep by easing facial tension through vibration and pressure massage," Therabody founder Dr. Jason Wersland said.

Relaxation is a key ingredient to falling asleep. It's much harder to drift into a slumber if your brain is struggling with stresses and anxieties.

"Activities such as vibration, percussive or massage therapy promote relaxation by stimulating a parasympathetic response – meaning, these activities relax tension in the body. They can also help reduce the release of the body's stress hormones, which has calming effects on the body and mind," said Wersland.

sleep-mode.png
McKenzie Dillon/ CNET
the SleepGoggles' Sleep mode's hear rate monitor
McKenzie Dillon/CNET

How it works

After entering Sleep mode and activating the device via the Therabody app (another option is pressing the designated button on the goggles) and slipping the SmartGoggles over my eyes, I was immediately greeted by a gentle vibration and pulsing temple massage.

Soon after, I noticed a gradual heat sensation that felt alleviating and soothing against my eyes, like a car's seat warmer under your backside on a cold night. The massager slowly and gently pulsed against my temples which helped ease pressure.

This did a good job at drowning out the unwanted noise in my head, leaving me feeling more centered and thoroughly enjoying the sensations. 

The timer is pre-set for 15 minutes but customizable via the Therabody app. All modalities can be customized, as you can also adjust the heat setting and vibrational intensity/patterns. 

At the end of your session, the app will display your beginning and end heart rate, showing you in real time its abilities to promote relaxation. 

I felt relief in my eyelids after each session, especially after full days of working from home. I also felt like it left me in a drowsy state, and the last thing I wanted to do was hop on my phone, like when you wake up on the couch at midnight after dozing off. I just wanted to go straight to bed. 

The battery life was a little shorter than the 150 minute estimate. After using Sleep mode for around 15 to 20 minutes each night for five days, I found the battery lasted around 100 minutes.   

Using Theramind for sleep

The best way to get the most from your SmartGoggles is by downloading the Therabody app to utilize Theramind. Not only can you customize your heat/vibration/timer settings, but it also gives you access to guided routines, soothing sounds and white noise for a multi-sensory experience to maximize relaxation and improve focus.

I'm a big fan of ASMR, which serves the same purpose with the added bonus of a relaxing face massage. It's a great way to distract yourself from anxieties. It's hard to think negatively when you have a gentle touch and calming noise working in your favor.

Other ways to use SmartGoggles

The SmartGoggles serve more than one purpose. "We spend so much time on our computers and phones, which creates eye strain, headaches, and difficulty falling asleep," Wersland said The SmartGoggles are designed "to help you take time out of your day, whether it is two minutes or 15 minutes, to relax and in turn, get the rest you need when you need it."

Relaxation

SmartGoggles promote calm, relaxed emotions. SmartRelax is a mode you can select that uses sound, vibration and heat to help you feel – as the name implies – relaxed. This mode is also where the brand's SmartSense technology comes into play. 

"There is scientific research that indicates when your body comes in contact with a stimulus similar to a heartbeat that is moving lower than your heart rate, your heart rate will slow down to match that external stimulus. This is exactly what SmartSense Technology provides," he said. 

A sensor inside of the device measures your heart rate and uses that information to deliver a soothing combination of vibration, heat and massaging to help lower it. After your session, you'll see a reading of your heart-rate before and after.  

Headaches

According to WebMD, heat therapy is a good method to help relieve tension headaches because it increases circulation to the brain. I see the SmartGoggles being a great alternative to or used in conjunction with over-the-counter aids for headaches. 

They remind me of a sleep mask I used to own with gel beads inside, and you could put it in the microwave to warm it up. However, the Therabody Sleep Goggles are 100 times more pleasant. Personally, I'm not prone to headaches, but my boyfriend used them when he felt one coming on and believes they helped curb the pain. 

Focus

The Focus mode is best used during the day when you feel distracted and want to take a moment to recenter and enhance your concentration. In this case, I recommend using the self-guided audio dedicated to focusing. It features soothing voices and sounds. 

The pre-set Focus mode felt nice, but it could almost lead you into a nap if you aren't conscious about your intentions. 

Final thoughts

The SmartGoggles from Therabody are unlike any sleep tech I've ever tried. I'm truly impressed with the kind of technology Therabody incorporated into a pair of 8.3 inch x 4.7 inch goggles. The big question is whether they're worth their $199 price tag. 

I'd say that depends. 

If you want a simple eye mask to block out the light, you can buy one at a much lower cost. The people who will benefit most from the Therabody SmartGoggles are those who have insomnia, sleep deprivation, headaches or anxiety. Relaxation and pain relief are priceless to many people who live through those daily struggles, and I think the SmartGoggles can be an effective aid.

With Therabody's new partnership with Oura, which makes the Oura Ring, I have a feeling the brand is just beginning its expansion into sleep and wellness. Considering the SmartGoggles are their first dive into the $30 billion sleep industry, I'm looking forward to seeing what they may develop next in the name of good rest. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.